Lunch at Balvanera

I’ve finally done it, caught one of the local buses across town. I did a lot of research first but even so when I saw my first 168 it was going the wrong way. I am getting savvy enough to realise now that often there is more than one route operated by the same bus number, so all we had to do was make sure the bus we caught was heading down Corrientes. This meant we had to walk an extra couple of blocks, but this was a first foray, a bit of a mini adventure.

We were off to Balvanera to the home of Jantango, and we had plenty of time. I expected the bus to go straight down Jujuy but it turned off, so I counted the blocks and when I thought we were as near as possible we alighted. As it turned out we were about eight blocks away, not a bad score for the first time.

At casa del Jan we were welcomed in and treated to a long talk about tango, we got some useful info on what to buy (tango music) and some insight into milongueros some of whom are still around, but many sadly who have passed on.  

Janis treated us to a delicious lentil stew, Viv’s favourite, which she had unfortunately laced with garlic. I think it was an attempt to keep me to herself that night. Fortunately the garlic did not seem to smell, whether it is some new type or the way she cooked it I do not know, but nobody fell over from my breath later.

Janis does not drink coffee, but made a brave attempt at making us a cup. Not wishing to be a bad guest I will say no more, other than when I mixed Viv’s cup and mine we got an excellent cup each. We also enjoyed some tasty Argentine treats, and now Janis is offering to take Viv on  shopping trip, so much for my budget this trip.

We walked to Centro Region Leonesa, often mistakenly called Nino Buen,tonight’s milonga is actually Los Consegrados. On the way Janis described the various bus route we could use, which would save us some taxi fare. It would not be possible to walk here from our place.

At the top of the large stone stairway that leads to the dance hall, people sat smoking and talking. This is the only place that they can smoke here. Janis’s arrival was greeted warmly and she introduced us to various old milongueros. I am afraid my recall is poor and I will probably forget all of them, though I suspect,knowing the warmth of these people, they will all remember me. 

We were also introduced to the guy who runs BA Tango a monthly glossy, we were honoured to be photographed for the magazine, fame at last.

Janis left us inside so that she could sit at the back, she would get her dances by doing the cabeceo, we joined the table of  Tangocherie. A couple of Americans sat at the next table to Janis and the lady immediately stared changing. To see her views on this read  anyway she requested that this lady used the ladies room, and she was met with a tirade of abuse, calling her old and ugly. It is bad enough when people ignore the etiquette worse still when they leave their manners at home.

We joined Tangocherie where we were introduced to those present, including our new freind Sally. Unfortunately the table consisted almost exclusively of women. I was not about to leave Viv sitting on her own all night while I entertained all these women (tempting though it was) so I arranged to do every other tanda with Viv. The night passed all too quickly and I am afraid I did not get round many, I missed Cherie, but I am glad to say Viv did get some other dances.

We won the raffle, a bottle of cider. Viv likes a bit of cider now and then, but as the place closed we were left with half a bottle of beer and half a bottle of cider. Sign of a good night I think, when you did not have time to drink.

We went back to sit with Janis and pour some cider down her neck while she told us more stories. we thought the tango was all over as they were clearing up but then the DJ decided on a bit of karaoki he sang along to DiSarli, we can now say we have heard Carlitos Laffito singing Carlos DiSarli, and I have to say he was very good.

Afterwards Janis escorted us to the bus, and left us with instructions when to get off. Now I will have to collect all the change I can, so that we can continue using the collectivos.


Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

7 responses to “Lunch at Balvanera

  1. tangobob

    I’m glad you can access my blog, would you believe I cannot. I am posting in blind faith, I have no idea what each post looks like, so if you notice any glaring errors please let me know. Thank you for the invite lets hope next time we can dance together.

  2. tangocherie

    Hi Bob & Viv,

    So nice to have met you on Saturday at our favorite milonga, Los Consagrados. I had SO much fun! Our table was especially full that night due to welcoming Caroline from Montreal and saying Adios to Rosa from Australia. Yes, there was an abundance of women, but that’s not a bad thing from a man’s point of view. You notice that our table is smack dab in the middle of all the men, right?

    Anyway, please come back soon and let’s dance together!

    BTW, I may have given you by mistake a couple of photos revista Diostango took of us after our performance at La Ideal–stuck into the magazine. If you find them, please let me know.

    So glad you are enjoying yourselves in BsAs. And that I can finally access your blog!

  3. Anna

    Interested to hear about the shoe changing etiquette in BsA, which makes sense. If you are at a formal milonga with tandas and the cabeceo (rare in the UK) it is respectful to look your best.

  4. tangobob

    Thanks for all that info, I will check it out, who knows I may soon be busing like a local.

  5. Dennis

    Buses work well.

    Here are some tips from someone has has worked for a while figuring out where to go. I don’t find the Guia T useful, except possibly if that is the *only* thing that you have. I, like all newcomers, want to know *exactly* which street a bus goes down, not just a general region!

    This site will show you routes from here to there (and back):

    Click on “En colectivo, tren, o subte”.
    Enter your starting address (name and altura (number) or esquina), the provincia (capital federal), the localidad will fill in.
    Click Siguiente Paso.
    Enter destination.
    Click Siguiente Paso.
    Set the options (blocks you’re willing to walk) and Click Buscar.

    Choose one of the results, and Click “Ver en Mapa” to see it drawn out.

    This appears to be about the third iteration of this website, but it is still clunky.

    I also use:

    which is great to look up single addresses. It scrolls fast. But it doesn’t know the bus routes. If those two sites could be combined, the world would be good!

    If you know a bus number (having seen it or had someone tell you about it), you can find out its route from

    There is also the government map at

    This one is slow, but it has two interesting features. After entering the street and intersection or number at the left and pressing “Buscar”, you get a close-up view.

    1) Click on “Datos de parcelas”. It opens up a tiny menu. And the cursor changes to a arrow with a question mark. Click on an particular property for a picture of it with information about size! Click on the “Datos de parcelas” to close it.

    2) On the top left, click on Seleccion de Informacion under Mapa Interactiva. Expand the Transporte element (that is already checked). Add a check to the Colectivo box, and press “Redibujar” button to redraw the map. Close the small window.

    Now the map shows bus routes!

    To see routes on a particular street, click on the “Datos Utiles” button at the top (similar to (1) above). The cursor changes to a arrow and question mark again. Click on a street of interest, and a windows opens with lots of information. Scroll down and it will show you which colectivos (and which routes!) go down that street at the location that you clicked.

    Unfortunately clicking on the route name doesn’t do anything worthwhile, as far as I can see. Actually, it is bad in that it messes with the previous search.

    I usually go back to xcolectivo with a colectivo number, and then consult google.

    What I would really love is a map (preferably google), where I could enter a colectivo number (and possible and it would show the route (and possible even stops!)

    [I’ve been thinking of writing this up for some time for various expat groups. Now I have the start!]

  6. tangobob

    Oops my bad memory again, I have altered the post and replaced Troilo with Di Sarli. I guess if you were really old and ugly you would also have to pay to dance. He He

  7. Bob and Viv,

    I’m so proud of you for finally getting on a bus to come to my home. You will find them convenient for the milongas and getting to know the city better.

    That was my first attempt at the Lentil stew. I was pleased it turned out well and that you both found it eatable. Coffee was a bigger challenge without the other pot to make several cups at a time. Mixing the strong with the weak turned out to be just right.

    Viv and I will go shopping at my favorite consignment shops to find a coat to keep her warm and not break your budget–I guarantee it.

    I introduced you to Beto Ayala and pointed out Carlos Alberto Rodriguez, both milongueros.

    Tito Palumbo is the editor of B.A. Tango–Buenos Aires Tango, in its 15th year. This Guide Trimestral has everything you need to know. The next issue will make you world famous with our photo.

    I hope I don’t run into that woman from the USA who believes she is out of sight changing her shoes and lifting her skirt at the table. Her taxi dancer didn’t bother to tell her there is a ladies’ room for that purpose. He didn’t want to make waves with her; afterall he was being paid to be her companion for the evening. He must have been embarrassed dancing Chacarera with her.

    When they called number 973 for the raffle, I realized that you were the winner of the bottle of Sidre because I had 972. Thanks for sharing a glass with me.

    You heard how much the deejay as Los Consagrados loves to sing. He slips in that particular tango of Carlos Di Sarli (aka Lord of the Tango) and takes the microphone at his booth. He’s the only DJ I know who sings and dances tango.

    I know what you’ll be doing Monday morning — going to the bank to stand in line for monedas.


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